Telling agriculture’s story – one race at a time

Farm American will continue to bridge the gap between agriculture and consumers in 2012 on NASCAR tracks across the country announcing Friday they would be riding with the No. 78 for the entire race season.The program is a coalition that aims to tell the story of American agriculture.

The story is something the industry knows well, but those outside may not be aware of where their food comes from and Farm American is working to reach out to consumers across the country–at racetracks–to educate them about where their food comes from and the farmers and ranchers who produce it.Stacy Hadrick is well known face in the agriculture industry has been working with the initiative as the agriculture relations director, and says the connection between consumers and producers has been important.

“We can’t take anybody for granted anymore,” says Hadrick. “That’s crazy to think that we don’t need to reach out to all consumers and educate them about where their food comes from. How often do we have somebody outside of agriculture that is saying I want to help promote what you do? That’s just unheard of.”

Barney Visser, who founded a furniture empire before becoming a NASCAR owner, wanted to do something more with his No. 78 racecar than just run laps. The owner of Furniture Row Racing experienced firsthand how an industry environment shifts due to importing goods, and wants to ensure agriculture avoids that same fate.

“I don’t want America to fall asleep on this issue–this is where America needs to come together,” said Visser. “I believe in the free market system, but we’re not free when we ask our farmers and ranchers to compete against foreign governments and potentially harmful standards that put us and our families at risk.”

The Farm American fan experience is scheduled for six racetracks this season. Hadrick says the personal connection with fans is what is important in getting the agriculture message to the public.

“A lot of the time they don’t know somebody that’s involved in farming and ranching to ask those questions,” Hadrick said. “Or we get the flip side like in Michigan where there were quite a few people in agriculture that came up to us and they were just really proud that there was a car that represented them, and that there is a program educating people.”

“Race fans work hard, and they play hard, but we can’t take for granted that they still don’t have these questions about where their food is coming from,” added Hadrick. “They are certainly hearing the misinformation–so we need to provide that opportunity to ask those questions.”

For more information on the initiative visit http://www.farmamerican.org.

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Categories: Convention News, Video

Author:Sarah Farlee

Director of Marketing and Special Projects for High Plains Journal and Midwest Ag Journal.

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